Suicides And Education


Indian Education- Suicide--Madura beats
Indian Education- Suicide–Madura beats

“We should be alarmed today, yesterday and every day, because every day on average 16 American youth are taking their lives.”

— Dr. Christine Moutier of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


“Why are students grunting through school instead of singing?” — One of the author’s home schooled youngsters

Why aren’t adults in academia killing themselves in greater numbers? More specifically, why do teachers and educators, along with librarians, represent the lowest rate professional suicides?

These questions must be answered in light of the fact that one can find the highest rates of suicide in 40 years among the adolescent demographic, the students who are in their care.

Economic turmoil and financial stress are cited by sociologists as a major contributing to our unprecedented rise in teen suicides. Exposure to violence is another significant factor. The former is not something that has been hitting those with academic jobs until relatively recently, but it looks like the proverbial bottom line may begin to trouble instructors and their colleagues to such a degree in the future that the comfortable personal quarters they’ve been inhabiting begin to get dark enough to stir up the question of whether or not they should… be, stay around for the increasing downturns that stand to plague the vast majority on the planet.

The latter deserves a special note. That is, youngsters these days are truly breathing violence — having injected it into their very blood and bones too. Through entertainment and (what’s become) entertaining “news” produced by sick adults. And courtesy of wars and the like financed by and participated in by narrow-minded older folks (who — if properly educated — would, maybe, know better than to kill kids). This, of course, has been touched upon in one form or another ad infinitum. [Pause.] In one clogged ear and out the other infected one, I guess.

But there’s another tremendously important variable that’s not discussed at all on our prestigious campuses, anywhere, for all practical purposes. That is, the way in which high tech gadgetry creates as much potential for self-destruction as Big Pharma’s products. The Pharmaceutical Industry has been the target of limited criticism on an ongoing basis, but Silicon Valley’s products have been given a total pass for all practical purposes. A virtual bye. Making wanting to live and saying “bye bye” a toss up for great numbers of troubled youth.

Academia has placed works such as Overpowered on the periphery, but the fact is that youngsters are particularly prone to the destructive side effects of electromagnetic pollution; evidence even exists for DNA being damaged. It just doesn’t work for the powers that be in academic circles to allow research to come up with conclusions which threaten their funding. To do so would be tantamount to the American Cancer Society spotlighting how everyone had to radically change their diets for us to eliminate the terminal illness they claim to be fighting full force.

And speaking of diet, well… I won’t even go there for now, except to note that those at the head of the classroom can generally afford to purchase, say, organic food more often than those in their charge, those they grade at the end of each semester. Evaluate as successful or not.

But don’t despair. Where there’s a proliferation of violence which we can expect to increase with each passing day, and with the way our economic downturn is slated to worsen — along with even organic standards going down the tubes (an increase of “organic” food in Safeway and elsewhere notwithstanding) — it shouldn’t be long before the playing field is leveled. Meaning, we have every reason to expect that academics and youth will be uncouth as they fight for first place with all others listed in the first two links above. Quite uncivilized. Certain, I’d say, as things stand, in one form or another. Which is to remind the reader that there are a lot of ways to kill oneself.

Ah, what should the future of civilized education look like? I have a game plan to recommend, if anyone wants to contact me. Seriously, I’d welcome the interaction; I’ve left a lot out of this piece. Including much deserved praise for those very decent academics who are”rare as flawless chrysolite.” Such sweet souls make themselves accessible to youth, their loved ones, colleagues and members of a given community around the clock. Are available 24 x 7.

I’m not for the death penalty whatsoever, but if I were I’d be advocating that academics who insist upon not causing trouble for the status quo get in line at a guillotine.

For the mean head games they’re playing. Not calling a spade a spade on too many levels. Leading youth to embrace… disappearing.

Head games are a very different species than, say, Lennon’s Mind Games… the words of which I’d give an A+ to if one my students wrote such sweet lyrics. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in fact.

Sing with the students in your midst. And make sure — from the deepest part of your heart — that you impart the National Suicide Prevention Hot Line number. Test them on that during every heartbeat you spend with them. There’s a way to do that if you’re singing with them.

Richard Martin Oxman has been an educator and activist for over half-a-century. He would be honored to speak gratis at any educational institution which makes a request at [email protected].


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